French energy giant Total, wants to expand its presence into block 8 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters at the presidential palace after the meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and the Regional Director of Total, Stephane Michel, Lakkotrypis said the discussion had been constructive. “The next steps in the exploration programme were discussed and one of the most important issues was the interest by Total in participating in block 8,” he said.
Block 8 was licensed to Italy’s ENI and “now we see interest by the French company to grow in this segment. It is a very important development that strengthens the [ENI-Total] consortium and expand its presence in Cyprus’ EEZ,” Lakkotrypis added. The consortium has 50 per cent stake each in blocks 6 and 11.
Michel, who is in charge of production and research activities in the Middle East region, echoed the minister saying: “We applied as well to enter block 8 owned by ENI and wanted to come to support that demand which is currently being examined by the Minister,” he said.
He did not give any further information on the share that the French company wished to acquire in block 8 or on the timetable for confirmation drilling in Calypso field in block 6.
Asked about Calypso, Lakkotrypis said the consortium’s work was continuing there but the government planned to secure an independent assessment of quantities in the field.
In February, ENI announced that it made a discovery of lean gas after drilling an exploratory well at Calypso. The company said it believed the gas play to hold around 6 to 8 trillion cubic feet.
“We discussed the next steps. We are not ready yet to say anything. We are in discussions on other issues, which will be announced as they develop,” he said.
Michel, asked if the company would proceed with confirmatory drilling in Calypso, said there was a lot of technical work to be done before this happened. He said so far results had come only from the first borehole and noted there would certainly be confirmatory drilling.
To another media question, Lakkotrypis referred to the navy blockade imposed by Turkey on ENI’s drillship in February this year, which prevented it from carrying out its work in block 3, the minister said: “After everything had occurred in Block 3, what we see is that one of the most important partners of the Republic wants to expand its presence in our EEZ, especially in a field such as block 8 which is largely still unexplored.” He said 3D surveys had already been carried out in block 8. “They are currently being processed to determine targets,” he said.
Turkey has repeatedly warned Cyprus against taking “unilateral steps” in exploring and developing hydrocarbons without factoring in the Turkish Cypriots with whom Ankara signed a ‘continental shelf delineation agreement’ in 2001.
Turkey’s claims on the island’s EEZ partly overlap with Cyprus’ blocks 1, 4, 6 and 7. Ankara also supports the north’s claims on blocks 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 12 and 13, including within few kilometres from the Aphrodite gas field in block12.